Columbus girds for $50M Cummins renovation, $30M overpass project

Columbus-based enginemaker Cummins Inc. will invest $50 million in renovations to its corporate headquarters while a new $30 million railroad overpass smooths traffic flow at a key entry point to the city, state officials announced Wednesday.

The joint announcement was made Wednesday afternoon by local officials and representatives of Cummins.

The overpass will be built in close proximity to the current intersection of State Roads 11 and 46, where a rail line used by CSX Corp. crosses the latter. About 40,000 cars a day pass this railroad crossing, including most of Cummins' local employees. In addition to its corporate headquarters, Cummins has several other facilities in or near downtown Columbus. 

Cummins has about 55,400 employees worldwide, and about 8,000 of them work in Columbus. 

CSX, the Louisville & Indianapolis Railroad, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the city of Columbus and Bartholomew County are among the entities paying for the overpass.

According to a news release provided by Cummins, the project is necessary because of an expected increase in rail traffic. 

CSX is planning to make $100 million in upgrades to L&I's Louisville-to-Indianapolis rail line by mid-to-late 2018. Following these upgrades, CSX expects to increase the number, size, weight and length of trains passing through Columbus on this line. Without an overpass, the increase in train traffic would have “significantly disrupted” traffic at that crossing, the release said.

“We are grateful to all the parties who came together to reach a solution for the long-term success and sustainability of downtown Columbus businesses and residents,” Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer Rich Freeland said in the release.

Cummins officials also announced Wednesday that the company plans to update its corporate headquarters, which was designed by Kevin Roche. The structure was built in 1983 and has not had any significant renovations since then.

The renovated building will incorporate art, additional meeting spaces and improved lighting. It will be designed with an eye toward employee collaboration and efficiency, Cummins said.

The upgrades are expected to be completed in time for Cummins’ 100th anniversary in 2019. The building will accommodate about 1,200 employees.

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